Robot skin becomes reality: For lovable androids, or android police?

Science, Tech Digest news

(Guest post from Shiny Shiny)


In the Star Trek universe it was the Borg Queen who introduced Data to skin that meant he could feel touch – in reality this is now being developed right here on earth.

The sci-fi dream is taking place at Stanford University, where Professor Zhenan Bao is hard at work creating something she calls “super skin”: ultra-sensitive electronic skin that can detect the lightest touch. Strictly speaking this isn’t the same as what the Borg Queen offered up (trust a Trekkie to keep tabs on the details) but it’s still early days and we’re confident this will be sorted.

The solar-powered technology will also one day be able to detect small traces of chemicals – meaning there is the potential for this new, exciting technology to be used by law enforcement, human or otherwise.

On a brighter note, the same technology could also be used in medicine, as the “super skin” can also pick up markers of disease: “For any particular disease, there are usually one or more specific proteins associated with it – called biomarkers – that are akin to a ‘smoking gun,’ and detecting those protein biomarkers will allow us to diagnose the disease,” Bao said to the Stanford University News.

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